If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-15 months or so, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Gothenburg, Sweden-based doom metal trio Monolord. Comprised of Thomas Jäger, Esben Willems, and Mika Häkki, the band can trace their origins back to 2013 when its founding members, Jäger and Willems, started the band as a side project that gave them the opportunity to play much heavier and darker material away from their primary gig as members of boogie rock outfit Marulk. Häkki, who may be best known for stints in The Don Darlings and Rotten Sound was recruited to flesh out the band’s sound and complete their lineup — and as the story goes, while the tiro was writing and recording their critically applauded debut Empress Riding, they discovered that they had a special creative chemistry that necessitated making the project more of a full-time gig. But along with that, the project also marks the first time that Jäger has taken vocal duties.
Building upon the buzz of their debut, the Swedish doom metal trio released 2015’s critically applauded sophomore effort, Vænir, which resulted in the band seeing a growing national and international profile. Now you may recall that last year Monolord released the “Lord of Suffering”/”Die in a Haze” 10 inch single — and “Die in a Haze,” was a sludgy and murky song in which sludgy, dirge-like power chords were paired with thunderous drumming, which created a rather enveloping mix. Jäger’s vocals floated over the mix with an ethereal quality, and as a result the song struck me as nodding a bit at shoegazer rock. The 10 inch single’s A side, “Lord of Suffering” managed to nod at space rock and psych rock — in fashion that reminded me of Black Sabbath‘s “Planet Caravan,” as Jäger’s voice is fed through a bit of vocoder and distortion, while the arrangement possessed a subtle cosmic glow.
The “Nirvana of doom” as their fans have referred to them will be releasing their third full-length album Rust through RidingEasy Records on September 29, 2017 and as the band’s Esben Willems explains in press notes, “A heavy groove that contains both bombastic overkill and a lot of dynamics is what we always aim for in Monolord; in playing, in song writing and arranging, in recording.” Naturally, album title track and first single “Rust,” which features guest spots from Mondo Drag’s John Gamino on keys and Beastmaker’s Trevor Church, who contributes a guitar solo towards the end, will further cement the Swedish trio’s growing reputation for crafting slow-burning, sludgy and forceful metal that manages to atmospheric, while possessing a tight, almost motorik-like groove and some incredible guitar pyrotechnics; but pay close attention, as the song reveals a band subtly expanding upon their songwriting and sound, as the song has an expansive, yet oceanic heft to it.